A BIT ABOUT ME:
My name is Deborah Lysholm, owner of Heartbeat Performing Arts Center in Apple Valley, MN. We offer classes in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip hop, break dance, leaps & turns, dance line, flamenco, Hawaiian and comprehensive programs in singing, acting and piano. Our student base ranges in age from three-years-old to adults, and skill levels of beginner to professional. We have established cultural exchange programs in Tokyo and Barcelona. The main event at Heartbeat is our teaching staff of 18 talented professionals who are gifted in performing and nurturing in their teaching.
Heartbeat’s crew of teachers and 300 students present four musical theater productions annually and our teachers have instructed master dance classes and performed literally all over the world. This year Heartbeat will celebrate its 20th anniversary, marking a significant milestone for the studio and my daughter, Kristin Freya, who is Heartbeat’s artistic director, and me. Heartbeat was a means to a new life for us; and the performing arts a life-line during turbulent years a couple of decades ago.
In addition to a lifetime devotion to dance, Kristin and I are survivors of two decades of domestic violence, and the first in the U.S. to file a domestic violence lawsuit in civil court. Our story of survival and starting a new life was featured in major newspapers and television news shows, and captured the attention of many entertainment celebrities. I am also a public speaker, enlightening audiences about the realities of domestic violence and that we all have it in us to start over if we are presented with that task…or opportunity. I am the author of Surviving in Rhythm and East Meets West articles published in the International Tap Association magazine. Kristin and I are co-authors of the book, Dancing to My Heartbeat, published 2013. Written with compassion from our hearts to the heart of anyone in a difficult situation who desires to begin anew, our memoir educates the public about domestic violence and also the joy of dance and its incredible ability to lift spirits and heal. As noted on the back cover of our book:
“Deborah Lysholm, a professional dancer, prayed that she could outrun the bullets as her husband, holding a rifle, chased her outside on a blustery April night in 1992. After 23 years of a terror-filled marriage, she knew she had to leave him—no matter how much she feared him and believed his threats that he would find her and kill her. Instead of becoming another statistic, she summoned unbelievable courage to start a new life for herself and her college-aged daughter, Kristin. A cosmic slingshot propelled Deborah and Kristin into an unknown universe, traversing discriminatory court battles including the first-ever domestic violence lawsuit filed in civil court. They staked their place in the performing arts by building a celebrated performing arts center, capturing the attention of entertainment luminaries, and embarking on exhilarating world travels in Europe, Asia, Egypt and the forbidden island of Cuba, discovering the women they were meant to be. Deborah and Kristin's journey is a hero's journey and an inspiring odyssey as they flee the centrifuge of domestic violence to follow a path from darkness to light. Dancing to My Heartbeat answers the question, “Why didn’t you just leave?” It conveys the beauty when you do.”
MY CONNECTION TO PLANTLIFE:
The key word in Plantlife is, “Life.” Dance, music and acting are celebrations of life. Anyone passionate about the performing arts knows that wear and tear on the body is part of the deal when you have years of training under your belt. Taking care of yourself prolongs your professional life in the performing arts. There are Plantlife products that I keep at Heartbeat and in my home.
Foam Soap for Hand and Body: All restrooms in the studio have an ample supply of the foam soap pump bottles and are absolutely loved by the teachers, students and visitors to the building. I rotate different scents based on the season of the year.
Lip Balms: Being located in Minnesota, it comes as no surprise that lip balm is a necessity during winter. Plantlife Lip Balm is fabulous to use before a performance because dancing and smiling in front of hot stage lights equals dry lips.
Aromatherapy Herbal Soap and Relieve Arnica Relief Bath Salt: This combination is perfect for sore muscles after a day of dancing…and a great stress relief. Dancers’ feet really get a pounding, so luxurious soaking baths are something dreams are made of for our muscles and feet.
Relieve Arnica Relief Gel: Again, sore muscles of a dancer respond to this gel. Another benefit for me is pain relief for my left knee that had major ACL replacement surgery. Even though the surgery was two decades ago, I still get pain and swelling of the knee after long days of teaching or a particularly high-power tap performance. This gel saves the day every time.
Essential Oils and Diffuser: Nothing makes my house or studio smell as good as Plantlife essential oils. I keep a variety of scents in my office and at home. During winter months, the air indoors can get extremely dry, so the diffuser helps keep the air moist, making it easier to breathe and less “stuffed up.” In addition, it definitely helps keep my face moist which is great for complexions.
Plantlife products, for me, make life more comfortable.
To learn more about Debbie and Heartbeat Studios, please visit their website at www.heartbeat-studios.com.